I am always in search of a better flashlight /headlight, like with any tool you must select the right tool for the job. While this may not apply to what you need to use it for I found the Surefire Saint Minimus the perfect solution for a wide angle adjustable headlamp for several applications.
Tested it in the Thurston Lava tube on the Big Island of Hawaii (short hike with obstacles), it provided exactly what i needed with immediate area wide angle light to view lava formations from the ground as well as hanging from above while hiking in the lava tube, this was a good test as obstacles from all directions that you don't normally get on an outdoor hike.
If any other headlamp was used it would have been too much of a spot beam not effective for proceeding in total darkness safely. While the Surefire Saint will not produce a long range spot beam it was the best tool for my caving application or while working in the south pacific islands or mountain tops.
The lithium CR123 type batteries were perfect for light weight, long lasting storage. If you want to use AA batteries get the Saint which is the same thing as the Saint Minimus but the Saint comes with an additional battery harness/ battery holder that is mounted to the back of the head band which will then allow you to use either 2AA or up to 3ea123 type lithium batteries. It will also include the same battery cover used with the Saint Minimus version.
I don't see an option of buying just the (AA battery holder/wiring harness/ center strap) should you change your mind after buying the Minimus and want to convert it to AA battery option so spending a few buck more up front on getting the Saint may be the way to go for you if you want the best of both worlds.
For myself it was more important to use the Saint in the Minimus style configuration. I'd rather not have the weight on the headband and swapping out batteries when needed wasn't a big deal.. With the variable light output if you are not running it full bore it will last a lot longer. Typically as your eyes adjust to the darkness you may not need it at full output for what your application may be. To this date I have not found a comparable LED headlamp with similar wide light pattern.
Finally if you need a spot beam headlamp for long range applications this is NOT the tool for the job, look at getting a Princeton TEC APEX or other.
"Failing to plan is a plan for failure"
Price Paid: $130
I have three of these — one is mounted on my fire helmet, one on my Swift Water Rescue Helmet, and the other is always in my backpack.
The one on the fire helmet takes the most physical abuse and has been beat up, put away wet, been in some extreme heat, and it keeps right on working. The one on my water helmet also takes a beating and has been "water boarded" more times than I can count.
I'm not sure what the waterproof rating on this light is but its the only one I've used in this application that hasn't drowned on its first outing. The one in myu backpack gets used on nearly every trip and brought me down off the Pacific Crest Trail last fall in a heavy snowstorm and a night as black as Hades.
It has a wide range of illumination and I used it for reading in the tent at night. Batteries seem to last a long time in all three applications.
Price Paid: $120 at REI
- Great beam close up and trail walking
- Comfortable fit
- It's a Surefire warrantied product.
- Clamps on lamp body too loose, takes two hands to adjust.
- Fire hazard
OK headlamp. Purchased mine in 2011. Two failures over the years. Both had problem with the switch turning on by self. Burnt hole in side of backpack in one instance.
Great headlamp for trailwalking, and close work, but not for finding something in distance. Will not buy another, but as long as Surefire continues to warranty, will not throw away. Two RMAs later, cost of ownership is bit steep. In 2019, there are far better choices in headlamps to be had.
Failure prone design. Don't leave home without a backup.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: a lot
Great work light, not sure I will take it backpacking anymore.
- SureFire warranty
- Truly venerable output
- Run time on hi
Have used and owned several SureFire lights. This is a great headlight to mount to a hard hat or if you're going to use it hard and can carry a lot of extra CR123's.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
I have a Saint Minimus and find it most comfortable to wear. Rarely do I need the full brightness so the batteries last longer. The disadvantage of the CR123 Lithium batteries is that they don't go gradually dim but die rather abruptly.
Overall a great headlight--light weight, compact, comfortable to wear. Very pricey as I recall.
Price Paid: don't remember as I have had this light for a while.
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Current Retail: $188.99
Historic Range: $83.99-$188.99
Reviewers Paid: $120.00-$130.00